Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Mets' Manager Hunt Goes On... and on.... and on...

You know, I am fairly excited about the Mets' new braintrust. They actually have four guys who are well respected and knowledgable in Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi, Paul DePodesta and John Ricco. I think just by the first three of that group being hired the Mets are immediately no longer considered a front office full of clown shoes.

Having said that, just what in God's name is taking so long to choose a manager?

One of the better candidates has already been hired by the Pirates (Clint Hurdle) and the fanbase is getting a little antsy. I'm all for taking the time to make the right choice, but this does seem to be getting a little out of hand.

So rumor has it that the finalists are: Wally Backman, Chip Hale, Terry Collins and Bob Melvin. According to some sources, it's mostly a two horse race between Collins and Melvin.

Me? I'd rather see one of the two upstarts get the chance.

I'm wildly in favor of Wally Backman mainly because I like his fire and his attention to basics, which is something I think the Mets could use. His style of play is gritty: full of speed and defense, with smart and aggresive baserunning. I like that sort of play. I also think Backman is the LEAST likey of the four to get the job.

I'm a fan of Hale also. He has a lot of respect from the players and a fresh set of eyes. Everything I have heard about him is excellent.

I'm NOT a fan of Collins (who would be a disaster with the media I think as well as a guy who has a rep of pissing off his veteran players easily) and not too big a fan of Melvin.

So my hope? Is that we see a combo of Hale and Backman. Maybe one as manager and the other the third base coach. Toss Melvin the bench coach job.

I have heard that Alderson feels the team manager job is less important that most teams might think. I'm sure he wants someone who will mostly go along with the team strategy that he will detail. However, he needs someone who will be a bit of a presence, carry excellent communication skills and will handle the media well. I also think he needs someone who will let the team see that there is no longer going to be an crap in the clubhouse and on the field. That the management is on top of things and the players need to worry about playing and nothing else.

I think that describes Backman and Hale more than it does Collins and Melvin.

I have my fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sparky Anderson Dies at Age 76

Sparky Anderson, a Hall of Fame manager for the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers, passed away today at the age of 76.

I'm surprised to hear he was only 76. I remember him from the 1980s and he looked like an older man then. Must have been his white hair and the fact that in 1985 I was fifteen and EVERYONE looked old to me.

Anderson won 2,194 games as a manager, which was the third-highest total in major league history when he retired, trailing Connie Mack and John McGraw. He now stands sixth, also trailing Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre.

Anderson was the first manager to win World Series titles in both leagues and the only manager to lead two franchises in career wins.

He led Cincinnati's Big Red Machine to World Series wins in both 1975 and 1976. He won the National League pennant four times in Cincinnati from 1970-78. He was was fired after consecutive second-place finishes in 1980.

Anderson went to the American League and won there, too, directing the Tigers to a World Series title in 1984 and a division title in 1987. He retired after the 1995 season and was added to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Giant Surprise

If nothing else can be said about the 2010 MLB Playoffs, I think the word "unpredictable" is the best description.

After the way the Texas Rangers cut through the New York Yankees in the ALDS, I honestly thought there was little chance the San Francisco Giants had in the World Series. Even with a fairly solid dismatling of the reigning NL Champion Phillies, I just didn't see the Giants doing much. I picked the Rangers in five games and kin of thought I was being generous to SF.

Boy was I wrong.

The Rangers just never seemed to get itself going. The Giants pitching was beyond incredible and shut the Rangers down like they were a minor league team facing a big league club. On the other side, the Giants bats hit way beyond anything you could have expected. Even Cliff Lee looked human facing them. They took advantage of every oppertunity and just flat out outplayed the Rangers.

Just goes to show you that it's impossible to predict these things. Congrats to the 2010 World Champion SF Giants.